Interactions of human hemoglobin with charged ligand-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles and effect of counterions
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Human hemoglobin is an important metalloprotein. It has tetrameric structure with each subunit containing a ‘heme’ group which carries oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood. In this work, we have investigated the interactions of human hemoglobin (Hb) with charged ligand-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles and the effect of counterions, in aqueous medium. Several techniques like DLS and ζ-potential measurements, UV–vis, fluorescence, and CD spectroscopy have been used to characterize the interaction. The nanoparticle size was measured to be in the range of 20–30 nm. Our results indicated the binding of Hb with both positively as well as negatively charged ligand-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles in neutral aqueous medium which was driven by the electrostatic and the hydrophobic interactions. The electrostatic binding interaction was not seen in phosphate buffer at pH 7.4. We have also observed that the ‘heme’ groups of Hb remained unaffected on binding with charged nanoparticles, suggesting the utility of the charged ligand-functionalized nanoparticles in biomedical applications.